Blues Phrasing | Guitargate

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Blues Phrasing

In this masterclass, Jack Ruch delves into the intricate world of blues phrasing and solo structuring, aiming to enlighten viewers on the essentials of crafting coherent and compelling guitar solos. Jack begins by setting up a foundational track in C, aiming to demonstrate how various phrasing techniques can be applied to a slow blues context. He emphasizes the importance of giving solo structures and incorporating space effectively to enhance musical expression. Throughout the video, Jack intermittently checks in with his audience to ensure clarity and engagement, ensuring that the technical aspects of his masterclass are accessible to guitarists at varying levels of proficiency.

As the masterclass progresses, Jack showcases his 61 SG guitar, discussing its versatility and unexpected suitability for jazz and blues genres, despite its rock-oriented reputation. He plays over a backing track, illustrating how to anticipate chord changes rhythmically and harmonically, showcasing various licks and their adaptations to different chord progressions within a 12-bar blues framework. Jack’s approach is hands-on, providing live examples of his phrasing concepts in action, demonstrating how simple thematic variations can significantly impact a solo's feel and coherence.

Jack also addresses technical difficulties with humor and patience, ensuring they do not detract from the learning experience. He shares personal anecdotes and insights into his musical influences, fostering a connection with the audience and enriching the masterclass with his extensive experience and passion for music. By the end, viewers are not only equipped with practical techniques to improve their blues phrasing but are also inspired by Jack’s dedication to his craft and his emphasis on the joy and exploration inherent in music-making.

Transcript Summary


  • Introduction and Setup (00:00:02 - 00:05:12)
    • Jack checks audio and guitar sound with the audience.
    • Discusses the day's topic: blues phrasing and structuring solos.
    • Shares a bit about his recent personal experiences, mentioning late nights and musician friends.
  • Guitar Showcase (00:05:12 - 00:11:00)
    • Jack introduces his 61 SG guitar, initially purchased for jazz but found suitable for blues.
    • He plays a few notes to demonstrate the guitar's sound quality.
    • Mentions the versatility of the SG for different music genres.
  • Explaining Blues Phrasing (00:11:00 - 00:15:00)
    • Jack explains the concept of 12/8 timing in blues music.
    • Discusses the importance of backbeat placement in creating the blues feel.
    • Emphasizes the role of rhythmic phrasing and space in structuring solos.
  • Phrasing Exercise and Techniques (00:15:00 - 00:25:00)
    • Introduces a basic exercise to practice phrasing over a 12-bar blues progression.
    • Shows how to use rhythmic pickups and anticipate chord changes.
    • Offers tips on maintaining consistency in phrasing and targeting chord tones.
  • Addressing Technical Difficulties (00:25:00 - 00:30:00)
    • Jack encounters issues with the camera and microphone setup.
    • Apologizes for the technical difficulties and attempts to resolve them.
    • Continues with the lesson despite the interruptions.
  • Live Playthrough and Analysis (00:30:00 - 00:40:00)
    • Performs a solo over a blues backing track, applying the discussed phrasing techniques.
    • Breaks down his approach to each section of the 12-bar blues.
    • Highlights how to adapt phrasing and solo structure based on the groove and chord changes.
  • Q&A and Closing Remarks (00:40:00 - 01:00:00)
    • Jack answers questions from the audience, offering further insights into blues phrasing.
    • Discusses the importance of practicing with intention and separating practice from performance.
    • Concludes the session with promises of providing the backing track for practice and hints at future lessons.


Perhaps you remember seeing the video above titled “THIS MAN is my favorite guitar player in the world right now.”

Well nothing has changed. Jack Ruch is quite simply THE player I’m aspiring to become, and he embodies EVERYTHING that I try and teach on Guitargate.

From his buttery lines and perfect voice leading - to his beyond tasteful chord tone soloing - Jack is quite simply astounding.  And he absolutely KILLS live. A total professional & Nashville staple, Jack will be teaching you all of the things that he uses in real life, each and every night. You know: TRIADS, CHORD TONES, & MELODIES!

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